An agreement must contain four essential elements to be regarded as a contract. If any one of them is missing, the agreement will not be legally binding.
3. Intention (meeting of the minds)
4. Consideration (fair value exchanged)
For breach of a contract, there is a material breach (goes to the very heart of the matter) and an immaterial breach (money damages will help compensate the plaintiff).
In cases of material breach, the party not in breach may revoke their acceptance, so goods/payment are returned.
For immaterial breach, the plaintiff is compensated by the defendant paying for the damages (ie cost of repair).
A contract can be oral or written. It just needs to be proven (so facebook messages will help with that).
One can write a demand letter themselves and see if that has the desired result; if not, then one can hire an attorney to send the letter; often times it is helpful to include a copy of the complaint of the breach of contract case, stating that the complaint will be filed if the money is not returned by X date.
It takes anywhere between 4-12 weeks to get a court hearing, so even if you have left the country, the attorney can still make an appearance on your behalf so your presence would not be necessary.
Small claims is appropriate for cases under $10,000 - http://www.nccourts.org/forms/documents/346.pdf
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Information provided is for educational purposes only. Consultation with a personal attorney is always recommended so your particular facts may be considered. Thank you and take care.